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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. Here are some HIV/AIDS facts that every pro-life advocate should know.

HIV testing is an important aspect of prenatal care. If a pregnant mother is HIV-positive, medications can be prescribed to prevent the baby from becoming infected. The sooner your ob/gyn knows your HIV status, the better!

The best way to prevent the sexual transmission of AIDS is to be abstinent or practice mutual monogamy with an HIV-negative partner. Obviously, you should also avoid injecting illicit drugs.

If you are sexually active, insist that your partner get tested. Of the estimated 1.1 million HIV-positive people in the United States, as many as one in five do not know that they carry the virus.

When used consistently, latex condoms reduce the risk of spreading HIV by about 80%. This benefit does not extend to condoms made with other materials.

Planned Parenthood is not the only option for HIV testing. Standalone programs, local health departments, and pro-life pregnancy clinics in your area may also offer testing or referrals. Click here to search for HIV testing sites by zipcode. You may need to be tested more than once to ensure an accurate result.

37 comments:

Yonmei said...

When used consistently and correctly, latex condoms reduce the risk of spreading HIV by about 80%.

Liar. From your own cite:

"Authors' conclusions

This review indicates that consistent use of condoms results in 80% reduction in HIV incidence. Consistent use is defined as using a condom for all acts of penetrative vaginal intercourse. Because the studies used in this review did not report on the "correctness" of use, namely whether condoms were used correctly and perfectly for each and every act of intercourse, effectiveness and not efficacy is estimated. Also, this estimate refers in general to the male condom and not specifically to the latex condom, since studies also tended not to specify the type of condom that was used. Thus, condom effectiveness is similar to, although lower than, that for contraception."

"The studies with the longest follow-up time, consisting mainly of studies of partners of hemophiliac and transfusion patients, yielded an HIV incidence estimate of 5.75 [95% C.I.: 3.16, 9.66] per 100 person-years."

That would be a 95% effectiveness rate - with the partners of patients who are most likely to be aware and unembarrassed about their HIV status, and to have sought help/advice about the best kind of condoms to use (latex) and how to use them correctly (not instinctive).

But repeating a false figure is so much more effective when trying to steer people away from using condoms, which of course prolifers like to do because they hate contraception: contraception prevents abortion and leaves pro-lifers with nothing to rant about.

The most effective way of preventing transmission of HIV isn't advocating abstinence or monogamy, as you lie in this article - that's has proved to be the least effective method.

The most effective way is always to have safe sex - to get sexual pleasure by other means than intercourse, vaginal or anal, and if you do have intercourse, always use a condom.

Nulono said...

Right, because someone who's abstinent and takes no elicit drugs is MORE likely to get HIV than someone who has protected sex.

secularprolife.org said...

Yonmei, thanks for pointing that out. I have corrected the passage to say "consistently" instead of "consistently and correctly." The phrase "consistently and correctly" was used in some of the other links, and I got confused. My mistake.

"The most effective way of preventing transmission of HIV isn't advocating abstinence or monogamy"
I agree, advocating monogamy won't do much to reduce your odds of getting HIV-- but *practicing* it certainly will! That comes from the CDC, which I suppose is now part of a vast anti-choice conspiracy.

secularprolife.org said...

Even if condoms provided only a little bit of protection against HIV, it would be worth it for sexually active people to use them. An 80% reduction is unquestionably a good thing, and I don't see how sharing that figure would discourage anyone from using a condom. 95% is even better, but unfortunately, a lot of people use condoms incorrectly.

Yonmei said...

Nulono: Right, because someone who's abstinent and takes no elicit drugs is MORE likely to get HIV than someone who has protected sex.

Advocating abstinence to others (from intercourse or from drugs) is the least effective means of HIV prevention.

SecularProlife: Yonmei, thanks for pointing that out. I have corrected the passage to say "consistently" instead of "consistently and correctly." The phrase "consistently and correctly" was used in some of the other links, and I got confused. My mistake.

Fair enough: I think it's quite clear if you read the WHO summary page carefully without an anti-condom bias.

I agree, advocating monogamy won't do much to reduce your odds of getting HIV

Then why are you trying to claim that it will? You're advocating abstinence, which you know is completely ineffective, and refusing to advocate condoms, which you admit to being more effective.

I also note you're unwilling to front-page your advocacy of condoms, unwilling to admit on the front page that advocating abstinence is useless, and unwilling to correct your 80% figure to 95% for consistent and correct condom use.

Nulono said...

Practicing abstinence protects you from STDs in general. I don't think that's disputed. "Advocating" abstinence of course does not protect you, but then again neither does "advocating" condoms.

And, for the record, Kelsey DID correct the statistic. By the removal of the word "correctly".

secularprolife.org said...

"I also note you're unwilling to front-page your advocacy of condoms..."

Oh, the irony.

Go look at the front page of SecularProLife.org. One of the first things you'll see is "Check out our sex education initiative." (The questions are taken randomly from a large bank, but there are quite a few condom-related questions in there, so you're bound to get at least one.)

secularprolife.org said...

For instance, here's a multiple-choice question:
Which of the following will NOT decrease the odds of pregnancy?
a) Using a condom in addition to the pill
b) Using a condom in addition to an IUD
c) Using two condoms at once
d) Using spermicide in addition to the pill

(Hopefully you know that the correct answer is C.)

Yonmei said...

Go look at the front page of SecularProLife.org. One of the first things you'll see is "Check out our sex education initiative."

But you're not willing, on your World AIDS Day post, to advocate the use of condoms and to note that if correctly and consistently used, they're 95% effective - which is way more effective than advocating abstinence/monogamy.

Yonmei said...

Oh, the irony.

Okay, I clicked on your "Grow your knowledge" quiz. Let me run you through the first few questions I got.

On the right hand side of the page there's a factoid about embryo growth. Pretty useless in preventing abortions or spread of STD, but whatever floats your boat.

"What percentage of rapes are committed by strangers to the victim?"

How helpful that will be, in preventing abortions or spread of STDs! Not.

"What is sexual reproduction?"

How helpful that will be, in preventing abortions or spread of STDs! Not.

" you think you may have been exposed to HIV, you should get tested..."

Okay, first relevant question....

"There is no such thing as safe sex, only 'safer sex.'"

Second relevant question, but the answer's a lie.

"In order for pregnancy to occur, which of the following must happen?"

...gives a totally irrelevant answer: no advocacy of condoms, the Pill, or other contraception.

"In this game, we measure an unborn baby's age in weeks from fertilization. An alternative measurement is weeks from last menstrual period (LMP). How do you convert from weeks from fertilization to weeks LMP?"

What a totally irrelevant question!

Oh, the irony: a pro-lifer lies about advocating condoms!

secularprolife.org said...

The game is about sex education. Condoms are only one aspect of sex education. Obviously the prevention of STDs and unplanned pregnancy is an admirable goal, but we also want people to acquire knowledge about their sexuality, biological development, and so on. What's wrong with that?

For the record, here's the Q&A Yonmei thinks is "totally irrelevant":
In order for pregnancy to occur, which of the following must happen?
a) Penetration of the vagina by the penis
b) Ejaculation
c) Female orgasm
d) None of the above
Correct answer: D. All that is needed for pregnancy to occur is for one sperm to reach one egg. Even preejaculate contains some sperm, and sperm deposited anywhere around the vaginal opening can make it inside to fertilize the egg.

That is ABSOLUTELY relevant. I'll give Yonmei the benefit of the doubt, because she's from outside the United States, and maybe it's been a long time since she was in school. But many American teenagers have no idea that preejaculate contains sperm, and many have an "anything but intercourse is 100% safe" mentality. They deserve to know what risks they are taking, and this is directly related to unplanned pregnancy prevention.

Yonmei said...

Condoms are only one aspect of sex education. Obviously the prevention of STDs and unplanned pregnancy is an admirable goal, but we also want people to acquire knowledge about their sexuality, biological development, and so on. What's wrong with that?

You're claiming that this sex education quiz is where you advocate condoms. There was at least one relevant question about conception which should - if you were going to advocate the use of contraception - have included a para about how to prevent conception: for a woman by taking the Pill or using a barrier method, for a man by using a condom. You didn't. Fail!

Also, there was at least one question - about safe/safer sex - where the answer was a lie, concerned only with advocating 7abstinence/monogamy, which are not even "safer sex" - and not mentioning using condoms or achieving sexual satisfaction without intercourse.

Monica said...

SPL, question: Why do you defend yourself to Yonmei?

Someone who considers the statement "latex condoms reduce the risk of spreading HIV by about 80%" as "trying to steer people away from condoms" either a) actually believes this or b) wants very badly to be inflammatory. I don't see how either option leads to a productive discussion.

Yonmei said...

Someone who considers the statement "latex condoms reduce the risk of spreading HIV by about 80%" as "trying to steer people away from condoms"

Absolutely this blog post is trying to steer people away from condoms, in a way even SPL admits is inaccurate in the comments. SPL is following the typically useless Christian course of advocating abstinence - and deliberately misquoting the most effective rate of latext condoms.

Yonmei said...

wants very badly to be inflammatory.

Making a World AIDS Day post that attempts to add its little Christian mite to the spreading of HIV, is deliberately inflammatory. I'm merely responding in kind to SPL's attempt.

Laura said...

I am totally confused about what Yonmei is trying to argue here. This is one of those moments where I'm thinking, "Oh, please, don't be on my side of this issue!!" (For the record, I am resolutely pro-choice.)

I don't think that advocating abstinence is irresponsible, or ineffective, as long as it isn't put forth as the ONLY means of avoiding an STD or unplanned pregnancy. (I've followed Secular Pro-Life for a while, and they aren't guilty of this.) Personally, I prefer what's commonly termed the "abstinence plus" approach to sex education, wherein abstinence is stressed as the only surefire way to avoid pregnancy or STDs, but other methods are discussed (as more than merely a footnote or afterthought).

Yonmei said...

I don't think that advocating abstinence is irresponsible, or ineffective, as long as it isn't put forth as the ONLY means of avoiding an STD or unplanned pregnancy.

How do you suppose that telling someone not to have sex will stop that person from catching an STD or getting pregnant?

Especially when the advice is followed by misleading information about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing the spread of STDs... and an absolute refusal to reference how women can protect themselves from pregnancy?

What protection against an STD, in your view, does being told not to have sex provide?

How, in your view, does being told not to have sex stop anyone from getting pregnant?

Personally, I prefer what's commonly termed the "abstinence plus" approach to sex education, wherein abstinence is stressed as the only surefire way to avoid pregnancy or STDs, but other methods are discussed

Personally, I prefer what's actually been proven to work effectively, rather than any of the pro-abstinence methods which have been proven not to work over literally centuries of trial. What's been proven to work is to assume that most people will be having sex, and should do so when they choose and with whom they choose, and here is how to have sex safely and considerately.

So why do you prefer more ineffective methods of preventing the spread of STDs and teenage pregnancy? Perhaps you could answer that along with your answer as to what protection is provided to someone having sex by having been told not to?

A Duck said...

@Yonmei:

How do you suppose that telling someone to use condoms will stop that person from catching an STD or getting pregnant?

What protection against an STD, in your view, does being told to use condoms provide?

How, in your view, does being told to use condoms stop anyone from getting pregnant?


Yes, if people don't listen to you, advocacy of anything is totally ineffective. As a matter of fact, unless you're having sex with the person or secretly slipping them birth control (there's a friend who cares), nothing you do will decrease their chances of contracting an STD.

According to your reasoning, you should never advocate anything to anyone because advocacy by itself doesn't do anything. Is that correct? Should I stop advocating condom use because advocating it doesn't actually reduce their chance of contracting HIV? Are you saying I need to put the condom on for them?! Look, I'm a good friend, but not that good.

A Duck said...

Correction: Slipping someone birth control won't decrease their chances of contracting an STD either. Unless you call pregnancy an STD (I'm sure someone does), but I don't.

Yonmei said...

How do you suppose that telling someone to use condoms will stop that person from catching an STD or getting pregnant?

I suppose because it has been shown by evidence that if you tell kids that using condoms - each time, every time - will protect them and their partner against most STDs and prevent a female partner from getting pregnant: and then you make sure that kids can get condoms, freely and easily, then kids will tend to use condoms. And thus protect themselves against STDs and unwanted pregnancy.

Whereas it has been demonstrated for centuries in an ad hoc kind of way, and by scientific review of "abstinence" sex education programs more recently, that telling kids not to have sex will just mean they'll know to keep it secret when they do: they'll know that adults want them not to have sex at all, so adults can't be trusted to be sources of advice and support when they do.

So: tell a kid to use condoms (and make sure they've got access to condoms) and they probably will, which makes a demonstrable difference to the spread of STDs and to the unwanted pregnancy/abortion rate.

Tell a kid not to have sex, and they'll have sex anyway. How does being told not to have sex protect them when they do?

Condom advocacy makes a difference.

Abstinence advocacy makes none.

According to your reasoning, you should never advocate anything to anyone because advocacy by itself doesn't do anything. Is that correct?

Nope, you're trying to make a broader issue of it.

Having sex is normal and natural, and providing you're responsible and careful and have sex with mutual consent, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's a basic appetite, like eating when you're hungry. You can teach kids to have good manners when they eat and avoid foods that are bad for them, but advocating to kids that they should just be abstinent from food is not going to make them quit eating.

A Duck said...

@Yonmei

I'm going to start with your last blurb because it caught my attention. I think (and this is just speculation) that kids might eat, even if you tell them not to, because if they don't they'll die. Maybe. And I'm also fairly confident that abstinence doesn't kill you. I mean, I suppose it's true that if you go without sex long enough (70 - 100 years), you will eventually die. But you know, correlation/causation.

Now, to the rest of your argument.

You just repeated yourself. You said "Kids will listen to X but they'll NEVER listen to Y." You're saying no kid will ever be convinced to remain abstinent if they want sex. Which I'm guessing is about 99% of teens. Which is such a dramatically superlative statement that I kind of want to puke just hearing it. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

And less related, you mentioned ad-hoc evidence and scientific review, so...LINK:

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=2207986099&topic=22308
POW! <<(the sound of that link)

Yonmei said...

Oh dear, A Duck, I was afraid you'd get all literal about my analogy between telling kids not to eat and telling kids to eat sensibly and with good manners. I know pro-lifers just aren't that bright, but it's actually developmentally odd not to be able to recognize an analogy.

You're saying no kid will ever be convinced to remain abstinent if they want sex. Which I'm guessing is about 99% of teens

No kid? No. I'm sure that a tiny minority, told not to have sex, and wanting to, will just obey. People vary: which I acknowledged, and which you appear not to understand. But in general, yeah: 99% of people want to have sex, and mostly they do. And there's nothing wrong with that, so long as they don't harm anyone else in doing so.

You got the link wrong, by the way: it's not a Facebook link, it's on newser:

www.newser.com/story/103447/abstinence-only-states-have-more-teen-pregnancy.html

And why yes, it does prove my point, doesn't it? Did you mean to link somewhere else? That's why Facebook links are confusing.

A Duck said...

Read Johnny Lathrop's post. That's what I was referencing.

My point about the kids is valid. There are a number of things you can develop an appetite or a habit for, such asx:
Food, sex, socializing, poker, gaming, exercise, drugs, etc.
but when the distinction between two of them is necessity for survival, comparisons don't hold so well. Furthermore, my point is that advocating abstinence does benefit some people, even if advocating condom use works better. So advocating both as protection options, as the original AIDS post did here, is kind of the best of both worlds.

Yonmei said...

but when the distinction between two of them is necessity for survival, comparisons don't hold so well.

Right. People have no instinct for sex because where we evolved, apes used syringes.

Furthermore, my point is that advocating abstinence does benefit some people,

You have still not identified what benefit is provided to someone having sex for the first time by having been previously told s/he mustn't have sex. Go on. Do.

So advocating both as protection options, as the original AIDS post did here, is kind of the best of both worlds.

Being previously told not to have sex provides no measureable protection against HIV when you have sexual intercourse.

Being previously told to use a condom any time you have sexual intercourse has a measurable benefit: people who use condoms have a lot lower chance of acquiring an STD or becoming pregnant.

Yonmei said...

Read Johnny Lathrop's post. That's what I was referencing.

Okay. *reads* Yeah, Johnny, like you, seems to think that there's some magical protection cast over a person having sexual intercourse to at least some degree if, in the past, they've been told not to have sex.

He's wrong and so are you and so is the author of this post: there's none.

A Duck said...

Man, what kind of idiot would believe that? Everybody knows that being told to where a condom is what really protects you.

Monica said...

So:

1) Being told to do X doesn't protect you.
2) Doing X protects you.

Let X = being abstinent OR using a condom.

Am I missing anything in this line of thought?

A Duck said...

You're missing the Yonmei clause. I have yet to understand what exactly that entails, but its behavior seems very similar to the Whitney clause.

Yonmei said...

Am I missing anything in this line of thought?

People who are told strongly to use a condom whenever they have sex, tend to do so.

People who are told strongly not to have sex, tend to have sex.

How many lifelong totally virginal celibates do you know, Monica, that you think "Being told not to have sex" means that people just don't, ever?

In the discussion A Duck linked to, the key article was the first one, which I linked to directly: teenagers who have been told not to have sex, tend to do so anyway (at about the same age as any other teenager of equivalent social group) but tend not to use a condom or any other contraception. For pro-lifers who get off on moral obliquity of youth today, this is jam, obviously.

For people who care about preventing teenage pregnancy and stopping the spread of STDs, it's damage done by the pro-life morality that makes preaching abstinence/denying women contraception much more important than preventing abortion.

Nulono said...

Well, I can only speak for myself, but I am a sexually abstinent teen. I do, naturally, have a libido, but I'm not going to have sex until I'm ready to handle the consequences thereof.

Yonmei said...

Nulono said: Well, I can only speak for myself, but I am a sexually abstinent teen.

Really? Well, that explains a lot of your stupider comments - not the abstinent part: the teenage part. Teenagers are understandably ignorant of the way things actually work, and I'll try not to get in to so many fights with you in future, but remember you're just a kid, not old enough to want to have partner sex yet, and you'll probably grow up and be right embarrassed at the stupid things you used to think.

M said...

I'll try not to get in to so many fights with you in future, but remember you're just a kid, not old enough to want to have partner sex yet...

You don't think teenagers are old enough to want to have partner sex?

A Duck said...

you'll probably grow up and be right embarrassed at the stupid things you used to think.

@Nulono

As you might have noticed, some adults never reach that point.

Yonmei said...

M: You don't think teenagers are old enough to want to have partner sex?

Absolutely! But the decision when and who with to have partner sex is always going to be individual and different for each person. Nulono says he's not ready yet, and I totally respect that. You see, I'm pro-choice.

Duck: As you might have noticed, some adults never reach that point.

Sure: some adults remain pro-life. But the embarrassing stupidities of adolescence do explain a lot about Nulono's rants in favor of "pro-life" policies: he's just not had enough experience of the real world, and that's no embarrassment.

A Duck said...

you'll probably grow up and be right embarrassed at the stupid things you used to think.

he's just not had enough experience of the real world, and that's no embarrassment.

Are you sure about that? Feel free to take your time and make up your mind. It's the internet. It'll be here forever.

Pantheroom said...

Just read this whole thread....can...not...believe..you guys entertained Yonmei for this long. Unbelievably dense.

Neil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.